This bill would give the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) more power to remove or demote a VA employee based on performance or misconduct. This could manifest by removing them from the civil service, demoting them through a reduction in status or annual pay rate.
The bill also limits the awards and bonuses paid to VA employees and outlines a new process for handling whistleblower complaints.
Introduced in response to a very public scandal in 2014, this bill focuses on the past failure of the VA to take stern disciplinary action against corrupt or incompetent employees. As of April 2015 the VA had only begun disciplining a handful of employees embroiled in the scandal, and had yet to fire any.
Don't worry VA workers — Under this bill, employees have the right to appeal before the Merit Systems Protection Board within seven days of their removal or demotion. An administrative judge would also have to make a final decision within 45 days of the appeal — otherwise the original decision becomes final.
People who are appointed to a permanent position (within the competitive service, or in parts of the Senior Executive Service) have to go through an 18-month probationary period. That probation can be extended by the VA Secretary, and ended by the employee’s supervisor.